My Leica failed me

Leica SL2-S broken
Broken | Jerusalem | 2022

Sometimes the worst case happens. You are on vacation, bringing your best gear to capture all the magic of the places you visit. And then disaster strikes. My Leica failed me. My brand new SL2-S decided to stop working while we visited Jesus’ baptism site on the River Jordan this morning. “System Error” was the bright orange message on the display. Switching on and off, removing and re-inserting battery, changing SD cards and lenses. All the tips I googled in the Leica forum, nothing helped.

I send a message to the Leica store where I purchased the camera, pointing out that I was three days into a once in a lifetime vacation and I needed help to reset the camera (the SL2-S seemingly has no hard reset) or with whatever trick they have up there sleeves to somehow overcome the failure.

Well…I even got a return message two hours later. They wrote that they talked to Leica Service and they indicated it most likely is a shutter failure and they need to resend the camera to the factory for repairs.

Leica, in case you read this: My Nikons never ever failed me like this. My Olympus workhorses never ever failed me like this, whatever I did to them. This Leica SL2-S is a brand new camera that costs triple what I payed for these other cameras. And it simply stopped working, without warning, being handled and operated with care. Shutter Failure. Are you kidding me? And I’m simply being told I will have to send in the camera for repairs. No apologies, no nothing. A suggestion that I might want to look for a retailer in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv that maybe can take a look. Not even sending me addresses or phone numbers. Not even a simple sorry for having a new high end 5000 Euro camera fail on vacation.

Leica, your customer experience sucks! I would have at least expected some kind of “sorry”. Or a proactive suggestion how I could get it looked at here in Israel. And even when I get this thing repaired within warranty…how can I ever confidently take this camera on vacation again or use it on a wedding gig? So disappointed…so disappointed….

Now the old M240 and my iPhone 12 will have to cover the rest of the vacation. At least I brought a 10 year old backup and some vintage primes. And the iPhone camera is also quite capable. I’m looking forward to the challenge to get the best of the failed SL2-S luxury camera. To still capture all the memories of our trip to beautiful Israel.

Thanks for nothing, Leica!


62 thoughts on “My Leica failed me

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  1. Hallo Marcus,
    das selbe ist mir mit einer ngelneuen Mittelformat Hasselblad HD4 passiert…45.T€ Wert und ich sollte einen neuen Airbus fotografieren und nach 3 Auslösungen streikte das gesamte System. Ich hatte zum Glück in der zweiten Kamerascheu meine Canon D5sr dabei..ich habe 4 EOS 5er und seit 15 Jahren gab es nie Probleme. Ich habe Hasselblad die Kamera vor die Tür gestellt und ultimativ eine Neue verlangt sonst würde ich alles vor ihren Augen auf die Strasse feuern…so war meine Laune nach dem Job…sie gaben dann klein bei…Herzlicher Gruss von Jürgen

    1. Hallo Jürgen, wow, was für eine Geschichte. Für jemanden, der seinen Lebensunterhalt damit verdient, ist das schon gar nicht akzeptabel…gut das Hasselblad eingelenkt hat.
      Liebe Grüße und dir einen schönen Sonntag

  2. O ! This is something unheard of Marcus. Seriously, and did you only send it for repair? And not ran after them to give you a new unit. But indeed shocking.

    1. Sigh…so true, but then this is Germany. Not a place to find good customer service anyway. But not even a premium brand comes with premium service. Or has the intention to provide a good customer experience….

  3. Oh no, rotten luck, but your back up photos will be just as good as it’s your eye for an image that counts. I’m shocked that such awful customer service exists, whatever happened to a sympathetic person on the other end of a phone. It costs nothing to at least apologise, not that that comes near to sorting the problem.

    1. Thanks, Jill, appreciate your comment so much! Today I brought the camera back to the shop to have it fixed. And to convey my disappointment. Let’s see what happens…

  4. Ugh! To your creative talents in getting great images even with older equipment. You know the equipment and you’ve gotten excellent photos in the past. You’ll be in the groove.

  5. Oh Marcus, my heart goes out to you. How annoying that the camera abruptly stopped working and that you received such terrible customer service (if you could even call it that) from Leica. I’m certain all the photos you take on your other devices will be really good but it’s not the point is it!

  6. Appalling service, Marcus. The iPhone will be a versatile friend. I now use mine for most of my shots. Just to be able to edit in the phone is so powerful. Have a great trip.

  7. That’s brutal… How utterly frustrating.
    I’m sure you’ll get great photos with your back up gear — and looking forward to seeing them. But I can certainly sympathize. There’s not much worse than a company that charges a premium for their product but won’t back it up when it goes pear shaped.

      1. I’m enjoying your photos; I hope the experience hasn’t soured the whole trip.

      2. I’ve never been, but I imagine it is. I’m often staggered when I stop to actually think of the centuries of human history that takes place there (and in Europe). As in the realization that Jerusalem has been there for literally millennia.

        I look forward to seeing more of your pics: the market place photos were pics I initially thought were from this guy (who lives in Isreal at the moment).

      3. I will share more about Jerusalem for sure, so much history! I’m now in Tel Aviv , a completely different story….so much life and vibrance…Thanks for sharing the link to Victors page, will check it out!

  8. That is beyond frustrating, Marcus, especially that Leica didn’t offer any apologies and solutions. But , hey, you are going to take terrific images anyways, because it’s the eye you have to capture the beauty, still enjoy your special trip. Shalom.

  9. Really sorry to hear this, Marcus. Especially since I’m pretty new with my Leicas. Now I’m nervous.
    Best of luck to you. Keep us posted.
    Not sure whether or not to “like” this post! (I didn’t)

  10. Wow, Marcus, this is so terrible! And such a bad customer service experience too, I too would be very angry. I hope that the manufacturer will take care of this once you return home, I have the iPhone 12, it takes great photos so you’ll at least have that.

  11. Oh, Marcus–what a bummer! I went online to read reviews of your camera and nothing but raves. All raves. No follow-up about something like this happening. Your photos with whatever camera you use will still be lovely, though.

  12. Unbelievable! Well, I think you’re going to bounce back and make some very cool photographs with the vintage lenses, the old camera, and the iPhone. Good luck!

  13. Oh, no! I’m so sorry to hear :-(. That’s never a good experience, to say the least. (I’ve been a Nikon shooter since 2008) I’m sure you’ll capture some wonderful picture, though. It’s not the camera, you know :-). That said, I hope that your Leica is still under warranty and that they can replace it or fix it. Fingers crossed!

  14. Du bist richtig böse Marcus! And rightly so. This sucks. And I really envied you when reading about your new Leica! But, one consolation – I know you make wonderful pics with your older Leica, maybe, if I dare say, even more creative because of the ‘limitations’ of prime lenses. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  15. OMG, what a huge bummer! And I get how much it would have meant to you to receive some support and understanding from the Leica company, and also I imagine having some relief at having backup cameras.

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